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Ady Suleiman doesn’t disguise his emotions. He doesn’t hide behind abstract lyrics or leave it to strings to suggest how he’s feeling. His frank, unfiltered, soul-baring songs offer more than an insight in to his life – they’re a front row seat to real situations relayed in real time, to conversations typically held behind closed doors, to self-confessions related out loud.
His early EPs found him fans in Gilles Peterson and Mistajam, while his innate ability to express his emotions so openly impressed Chance The Rapper, who flew him to the States to collaborate, and Joey Bada$$, who guested on one of his songs. He then was invited to tour with Laura Mvula and Michael Kiwanuka.
Now in 2018, Memories, Ady’s extraordinary debut album, is at once intimate and universal. Whether backed by a band with brass and strings or stripped back solo, its dozen, story-telling songs draw you in with details that feel both familiar and intrusive. Whether singing about sex or self-doubt, describing relationships going wrong or right, examining his own anxiety issues or pondering his place in the world, the 25 year old can’t lie, to himself or to his listeners.
Musically, Memories is as restless as its writer. Vintage soul rubs shoulders with contemporary R&B. Songs dip in to reggae, jazz, funk and folk. Members of Ady’s six-piece live band breeze in and out. The setting is led by the story, delivered in Ady’s warm, conversational vocal style.
Like all great debut albums, Memories doesn’t document a particular place or time. It’s about growing up – mistakes made, lessons learnt, love found and bonds broken. It’s about moving on as much as looking back. For Ady, it’s both an end and a new beginning.